Something I found interesting in Jones’s Silver Sparrow was how knowledge (which not everyone has, in particular) seemed to be equated with power in the Yarboro family, or at least to Gwendolyn, it seems like.
Early-on in the book Gwendolyn takes a young Dana out to spy, or as she puts it ‘surveil’ James’s legally accepted family in an effort to make her feel better. Dana feels insecure about her teeth and her appearance and has decided that that is why she is ‘the secret’ while Chaurisse gets to be James’s daughter out in the open. Gwendolyn tells Dana that because they know about both families (the Witherspoon’s and the Yarboro’s and James’s dual life) that they are better off or more in control of the situation. To me this was a little disturbing, and while I’m not sure if this was an intentional parallel I thought of how historically knowledge (or lack thereof) has been used to control people. We could talk about Catholicism and the Latin bible, slavery and the written English word and formal education, and even today in regards to government officials and the statistical information they undoubtedly have access to that the common populace does not, and a myriad of situations in which those with knowledge kept it from those whom they sought to control and were successful.
I’m not sure how far to go on this, so I will leave it here.